From Screen To Page OR Mint Condition

(Consider that second title my feeble attempt to reference Cream’s “Blue Condition”.)

Alright, I’ll admit it…I am a comic book junkie. Not quite to the degree I was up through my early-ish 20s, but even ever since then, the comic book/graphic novel medium has held a special place in my heart. And if there ever was AND still is an entertainment franchise that has always, ALWAYS deserved its own comic book, it is so Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Most especially (and obviously, in the case of this place) the original 1969-70 version…although maybe, MAYBE I would give a remake-based comic a chance IF their R&H were written like the old school R&H despite their appearance. Nah…scratch that. It has to be the classic Jeff and Marty that should be portrayed in graphic/print form AND NOBODY ELSE. For cripes’ sake, Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope’s Jeff and Marty just looked considerably more like men who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with the London underworld…

And I will stop there, for if I don’t, I am going to have nothing left for my remake reviews.

Getting back to the subject of comics (no, NOT THEM)…, if there honestly has been and is anything similar to the Randall and Hopkirk concept between Marvel and DC, two characters, one from each company, immediately spring to mind, Moon Knight and Deadman. Moon Knight is Marvel’s virtual answer to “What if Jeff Randall up and decided he was an Ancient Egyptian Batman one day?” OR “What if Jeff Randall embraced his potential insanity over his best friend’s passing AND hearing his voice in his head?”, complete with a Marty Hopkirk-esque white suit whenever he patrols the streets and nighttime as ‘Mr. Knight’. As a matter of fact, I will admit that, in addition to really digging his gameplay mechanics (and having an amazing build on him), that white suit/Mr. Knight outfit is why Moon Knight is one of my utmost favorites to play in the Marvel Heroes MMORPG. But speaking of Hopkirk-esque aesthetics, Deadman is DC’s practical answer to “What if Marty Hopkirk was a superhero?”. Deadman is basically a good guy ghost who was murdered, is invisible/intangible to most people but mystics and psychics, and can possess mortals. The only things keeping Deadman from being completely like Marty are a lack of telekinesis, telepathy, and the ability to generate hurricane force wind; no white suit, no chosen one, and that he had been a stuntman (and his alias comes from that very occupation), not a private investigator when he lived. Yeah, I can hear some of you…what about Spectre and/or Ghost Rider? Ghost Rider is easy-peasy to cross out here (as much as I also like playing him in Marvel Heroes), yes he is a supernatural character and has ‘ghost’ in his alias, but that is definitely where any and all ‘similarity’ begins and ends. Spectre…yes, he is ghost-like AND his name is a synonym of ghost, but I would make the argument that apart from being able to possess mortal beings too, he is a bit too godlike to be compared to Marty Hopkirk and other spirit types.

But enough comparing and contrasting…well, ok, a little more: As will be discussed in this blog a bit time and again, it is such a royal shame that the original Randall and Hopkirk did not receive nearly as much promotion and merchandise during its time as the remake did in its time. If there is any area in which this could have been remedied, even if just by a tiny measure, it is most certainly comic publishing. Especially considering the numerous upon numerous 60s television shows that did manage to get their own comic books…including, on the ITC front, The Saint, The Prisoner, The Champions, Department S, and The Persuaders(!). Yes, you read that right, the Champions, the Persuaders(!) (ok, I know the Persuaders(!) are 70s, but they’re still definitely worth mentioning), and even R&H’s production ‘sibling’, Jason King and Friends* have, once upon a time, had their own comics…all the more proof that some things you just can’t make up. But that said, it just makes it all that much more ‘Oh, what could have been…’ about Randall and Hopkirk having a comic that could have boosted their original and best show, or at the very least kept it in the public conscious to up the demand for a much deserved second season/series (something else that will be talked about a bit time and again as well). Not to mention that it would have be downright neat to see Jeff/Mike Pratt, Marty/Kenneth Cope, and Jeannie/Annette Andre illustrated in that gorgeous, detailed, even at times psychedelic 60s/70s comic art style, the likes of which will never be seen again.

Believe it or not, I do not think a Randall and Hopkirk comic book/graphic novel is all that impossible today, especially as well as independent comics are doing versus Marvel and DC currently. My most enormous concern about such a thing would far and away be how true to the original (and again, BEST) source material it would end up being. In my mind, the utmost PERFECT 2017-forward Randall and Hopkirk graphic novel/comic book series would be true to the source material and utilize art that is modern, yet remarkably and very appropriately retro. That said, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, let me quite happily and proudly introduce one of the absolute best Randall and Hopkirk discoveries I have made in awhile, if not ever in the art of Icy Twaine!

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

This would be and is a BRILLIANT first issue cover for a potential Randall and Hopkirk published medium. Preferably of the graphic/illustrative nature, but it just dawned on me that a properly done novelization would be downright fun to read as well. To say I love this would-and-should-be-cover is putting it mildly…I particularly dig the lilies in the lower right corner. What a nifty touch in all of its symbolism.

And this is not to say that the near-entire Edwin Astley original R&H soundtrack being on Spotify is not an awesome discovery in and of itself…but really and seriously, just look at this would-and-should-be-cover in the fourteenth (sixth in the production order) installment of the what-if R&H comic/novel series…

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s DeviantArt page.

How could anyone, lifelong lover of this franchise or novice viewer/reader, not be remotely pulled in by these illustrations? The just absolutely perfect melding of modern with retro is breathtaking. And in its own wonderfully weird way, it just somehow fits Jeff and Marty, their adventures, and even their more humorous exchanges.

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

Bar none the best way to introduce Randall and Hopkirk to a younger audience (as well as just purely delicious art for longtime appreciators like yours truly)…today, comics/novels with simply fabulous art tailor made for now AND then just like this, tomorrow, the Blu-Rays or even Netflix carrying the 1969-70 series for much deserved new viewers alongside the perpetual ones.

Oh, and we certainly can’t leave out Jeannie, can we?

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

Caroline “Welp…well, I guess Wyngarde and Co. won THAT much of the ‘sibling rivalry’.” Smith

* – Granted, it was not a regular comic, but a one-off in a Thunderbirds Annual…but still…Marty?

Nuff said.

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More Spotify Sleuthing OR Ghost Music!

As the title indicates, I have discovered more(!!) Randall and Hopkirk music on Spotify! It turns out, most marvelously, that the 3 CD original Edwin Astley and orchestra soundtrack from Network is available for many a Randall and Hopkirk admirer to add to their playlist(s). As with all Spotify offerings, each and every single track sounds fantastic, to say the least. And needless to say, the entire soundtrack was an INSTA-ADD to my overall playlist/’radio station’, which can be accessed from the Spotify link under Other Haunts on the right sidebar.

I am a proud owner of the actual 3 CD official soundtrack set (released by Network in 2008, and obtained by moi sometime around 2009) and do plan to review it one day, but not for a long while. I want to get at least half of the episode reviews out of the way before taking on the first of the collectible/merchandise reviews. Maybe the original (and BEST) series soundtrack review will be a good way to celebrate when I am finally finished with the remake episodes. 😉

In the meantime, here is a very small but still nifty sampling of said soundtrack.

Oh, and you best believe I have added this piece of vinyl to my list of R&H goodies I would love to possess one day sooner or later.

Caroline “My Spotify ‘radio station’ is just like the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)…something for the kids, grandma and grandpa…” Smith

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Let Marty Hopkirk Haun..er, Watch Over Your Browser! OR Even Firefox Can Have Its Own White Suit!

Designed by moi a few weeks ago, here is the first ever Marty Hopkirk, and in turn, Randall and Hopkirk theme for the Firefox browser! The pictures used are respectively from the intro/title sequence, “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” (Marty’s grave and when he learns he can mess with electricity), promotional pictures (Marty sitting upon a grave (no doubt worrying about Jeannie and/or Jeff), Marty haunting his graveyard, and a portrait from Kenneth Cope’s interview in the January 17th, 1970 edition of Petticoat Magazine), “When The Spirit Moves You” (when Marty haunted Calvin P. Breem from the ceiling of his hotel room), “That’s How Murder Snowballs” (Marty closing his eyes to disappear and reappear), and “For The Girl Who Has Everything” (Marty keeping vigilance upon a quite elegant loveseat).

If anyone asks/requests nicely, perhaps one day sooner or later, I can create Firefox themes featuring Jeff Randall, Jean ‘Jeannie’ Hopkirk, Randall and Hopkirk, and/or all three. 🙂

Caroline “But the originals and ONLY the originals. 😛 “ Smith

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No Harpsichord, No Horns, No Problem! OR All Hail Edwin Astley!

A neat little Spotify discovery I made last night…this is one of the IMO three best cover versions of the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) theme I have ever heard thus far. My other two candidates being the London Theatre Orchestra take on Edwin Astley’s masterpiece (Yes, believe it or not, that track on Ultimate Cult Themes…I will not link to the CD because I do not agree with all of the selections falling under the ‘Cult’ category AND the Randall and Hopkirk theme was/is, IMO, EASILY the best track…somebody or a few people in the orchestra or production/engineering crew must be a fan/fans. Certainly can never have enough of those.), and what can be heard from the 5:32 mark through the end here.

If someone, anyone (perhaps the one, the only Vinny Cox himself…if you happen upon and read this, Mr. Cox (I bow in the direction of you and the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Appreciation Society, good sir..I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!), could you please, PLEASE tell me who did such a gorgeously haunting (in every sense of the phrase) rendition of a not-oft covered theme so I can eventually add it to my Spotify/general playlist, that would be terrific and utmost appreciated. I am, sadly, having a devil of a time finding that very version any and everywhere.

But, at least for now, we have the absolutely amazing Syriana take for some appropriate-for-today (and beyond) listening pleasure.

Caroline “For sure I’m not the only one who thinks that the original Randall and Hopkirk theme being played on a massive church organ would be pretty downright awesome, to say the least…” Smith

P.S. A warm, hearty welcome to the most magnificent Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman website, now amongst my friends! 🙂

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The Roar Of The Ectoplasm, The Smell Of The Crowd OR Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends…

It took a little while to get here…but I have decided the day has finally arrived. The Ghostess Talks is officially public. No, my review of “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” is not up yet…but it will be relatively soon. I just have to get the overall formula down, give or take a week or so. But meanwhile, it just feels good to be up and running. Do check out what I have posted thus far in the process of getting this place ready, most particularly my introduction, AND what I might post between now and the promised first review. Stay tuned, same Ghostess time, same Ghostess channel!

Caroline “If ectoplasm roars, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Smith

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Billions And Billions Of Pixels OR Gimme! Gimme!! Gimme!!!

(If there is a video for Volume 2 available, it is unfortunately not showing up for me on the American side of the pond…dammit.)

If anything truly makes me quite proud to be starting this blog right now, it is the fact that in just a couple of months, and a little under two years shy of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1969-70 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)‘s initial programming run, Network is releasing the complete boxset of R&H(D) in high definition Blu-Ray for the very first time in the program’s history. Now, I can hear some of you…”Network has already released the individual Blu-Ray volumes!!”. Yes, they most certainly have, and I have been remarkably aware of that…believe me, I have been pricing the individual volumes versus the soon-to-be-out complete set in my head constantly. Needless to say, I really, REALLY, BLOODY want this set…and not just for my Randall and Hopkirk collection, but also for my admittingly very constant viewing of the utmost classic show. I say this as someone who equally loves her Umbrella and Network Special Edition (2007*) sets…I never, ever thought that the original (and BEST, because that already cannot be said enough) R&H(D) could remotely look as pristine AND virtually ageless as it does in these promotions for the Blu-Ray volumes/set. My jaw dropped through the floor and all the way to China at the very first press of the play button on these videos. Stunningly gorgeous does not even begin to cover the marked improvement in the graphic AND sound quality of these episodes…and that is based on just YouTube videos on a computer. My mind is already reeling at the thought of what the Blu-Ray Randall and Hopkirk will look and sound like on a big screen telly.

As much as it pains me to wait a couple of more months, I actually want to do that to see if the complete set will have bonus features or not. The word/theory so far is that there probably will not be any bonus features…which will be a lowdown dirty shame if that remains true. If any Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) set seriously deserves bonus features, it is the Blu-Ray one even more-so than what has come before it. I am banking on two things…one, the no bonus features theory is based on the individual volumes not having bonuses. And two, Network may be simply saving the bonus features (whether or not new/different from the 2007 bonuses) for the complete set to give that much more incentive to buy that very set as at least a collector’s item alongside the individual volume set (the last volume of which does come with a folding ‘container’ in which to keep all six volumes). Speaking of incentive, whether or not you are one to want your bonuses with your programmes, please, PLEASE buy this Blu-Ray set in one form or another to do your part for the Randall and Hopkirk world/community and give Network all of the incentive and some to keep churning out INCREDIBLE R&H(D) offerings like constantly said Blu-Ray set. If this particular release of the show looks this astounding now, think of how much more insanely phenomenal it is going to appear in five, ten, etcetera years from now.

Caroline “In living AND dead colour!” Smith

* – As ‘outdated’ as it might be nowadays, I would still love to also land the 2009 re-release of the Network Special Edition R&H(D) set one day sooner or later because I am a collect-a-holic like that. 😛

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Every Day Is Halloween OR The Saga Begins

Welcome, one and all, to what is indeed a ghostwritten blog! Well, even though I am bound to a body, and have been since 1983 (but my heart and spirit live in 1969 and neighboring years), I do most certainly fancy myself as a ghostess. My name is Caroline, my surname is Smith, and I happened to be born on Halloween. Because of that very birthday, my maternal grandfather nicknamed me ‘Spook’, most immediately cementing my destiny with all things spectral and ectoplasmic through the years. Even if I was not born on Halloween, I do believe I still would have developed quite a fascination with ghosts, their stories, their ‘real’ hauntings (but not the shows about trying to see those and capture them on camera…such utter rot), and their utmost underestimated abilities. Everyone else can have their vampires, zombies, and psychos/slashers…give me ghosts and their mind-fudging, telekinesis, telepathy, controlling wind and electricity, and as Kenneth Cope/Marty Hopkirk wonderfully stated in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Umbrella DVD set intro, coming through the walls, watching from the ceiling, creeping around, getting in your car, following you home, etcetera any day of the week, month, and year!

There have been several ghost related entertainment franchises through the decades, but none have ever caught my attention and captured my imagination like Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). The original AND best version of Randall and Hopkirk was, still is, and will always be among the most unique television shows ever conceived with its supernatural detective dramedy format that has honestly never been completely duplicated (unless you count the 2000-01 remake…oh, that remake). It also featured, in my opinion, the best and most human portrayal of a ghost coming to terms with his paranormal existence and abilities, as well as the equally great interpretation of his still human friend being conflicted between the haunting aspects and the benefits of a ethereal detective partner. That coupled with the thoroughly magical time and colourful backdrop of 60s Swinging London made for the utmost pure and simply brilliant television, as well as easily, EASILY the most underrated offering from the ITC pantheon. Such is a true credit to the creator, Dennis Spooner, and the main cast members, Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope, and Annette Andre, among others. And, as I will be talking about A LOT here, if there ever was a show that deserved more than one season/series, along with none of the guff the critics unfortunately gave it at the time, it was most certainly Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

The main and predominant focus of this blog will be reviews, thoughts, observations, and fun/cool stuff pertaining to the original and, again, BEST incarnation of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). But there will be a few divergences, if you can call them that, in the form of…

  • – Reviews, thoughts, and observations about Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope, and Annette Andre’s other appearances outside of R&H(D).
  • – Reviews, thoughts, and observations of occasional other ITC and British Cult entries.

and…

  • – Reviews, thoughts, and observations of, brace yourselves, the 2000-01 R&H(D) remake. Yes, that. There are four reasons for my deciding to include it in my overall scope. 1. As much as I hate to admit it, the 2000-01 remake was my introduction to the overall Randall and Hopkirk franchise courtesy of BBC America showing the reruns in 2004. No, I am not proud (although at the time, I did like it…but that is because it was my absolute first glimpse of a highly one-of-a-kind premise AND I had no idea it was based off of a previous, much more classy version). But we all have to start somewhere, right? 2. Like it or not, and I include myself in there, the remake is part of the franchise’s history. And there are too many connections between the two versions for me to completely ignore the later one. 3. I figure why let all of the R&H(D) remake paraphernalia (the DVDs, all three books (a ‘guide’ and two novels), and the soundtrack (plus a single CD of the theme song) ) I have lie around and gather dust when I have a perfectly fine and dandy opinion piece site. And 4. Those opinions…oh, those opinions.

My immediate plans over the next couple of weeks to a month (but hopefully not quite that long) will be to naturally cover the very first original Randall and Hopkirk episode, “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” and then jump right in and tackle the first remake episode, “Drop Dead”. Brave and bold of me, I know. But my overall scheme will be to go back and forth between the original and the remake episodes, eventually leaving only originals left to review (26 originals versus 13 remake episodes) and end the general reviewing on a considerably happy note. I also plan for the order of my original series reviews to be that of the initial London Weekend Television airing order, as utilized on the Umbrella DVD set and presumably the A&E set (I say ‘presumably’ because A&E never released the second half of their set, most likely and unfortunately due to low sales, but the first half (which I plan to eventually review, along with the Umbrella and Network sets) did have its episodes follow the LWT programming order).

In closing for now, it will be an utmost honor to be among the proud, the very (and I mean VERY) scarcely few websites devoted to Jeff Randall, Marty Hopkirk, their private investigator business, and the grand tapestry of a universe revolving around it all, and in turn to share the webscape with the grandest R&H(D) site of all currently, Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified). Which, if you have not visited that most marvelous web offering yet, PLEASE do so…I personally cannot recommend it enough. Anyways, I am just a good (well, for the most part 😉 ) little ball of ectoplasm that felt it was high time for the ghost and his partner (the only reference to that title I will ever make…pinky swear) to finally have that much more rep on the world wide web. Welcome aboard and mind the gap.

Caroline “I’ve only just begun…” Smith

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